2020 Indiana Legislative Session

WVPE Public Radio

Today: We have three conversations about the coronavirus: one of them, with a Crown Point woman who has self-quarantined after testing negative for the flu, step-throat and RSV.   State Representative Chris Chyung (D-Dyer) talks about the 2020 General Asssembly session and of his own decision to stay at home, with symptoms of the cold and flu, because of his concern over COVID-19. And NFIB state director Barbara Quandt reviews a recent survey of Hoosier small businesses on how they are dealing with COVID-19.

WRTV-IndyChannel.com

Today: The U.S. Census Bureau begins mailing invitations to all Americans this month to respond to the once-a-decade population count that is so important.  Deb Stempowski has an overview of the 2020 Census and how to respond by mail, by phone or through the Internet.

city of Michigan City website

Today:  We continue our conversations with newly-elected Mayors in northwest Indiana communities with Michigan City Mayor Duane Parry (R). 

Language that could remove Attorney General Curtis Hill from office clears the House. An unexpected change to school referendum money passes the Senate. And a bill easing restrictions on child labor is headed to the governor.

Here’s what you might have missed this week at the Statehouse.

Syringe Exchange Extension Sent To Governor

Mar 5, 2020

Indiana’s syringe exchange programs will get “another year of certainty” after a bill extending them was sent to the governor Thursday. 

Indiana Public Media

Today:  "Times" chief political reporter Dan Carden joins us to talk about the stories he offered in print and online, including news of major bills at the General Assembly that will have an impact on northwest Indiana.  They include what may be the resolution of the issue of the town of Griffith wanting to secede from Calumet Township.  "Region Nerd Alert" podcaster Jose Rodriguez talked with two vendors at last weekend's Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, C2E2, and he gives us his conversation. Ron Taylor with the Porter County Recycling and Waste Reduction District has the latest on the household hazardous waste collection dates in 2020, the cleanliness of the county's recycling drop-off sites and a sneak peek at the 2020 northwest Indiana Earth Day observances in April.  And Jesse Kharbanda with the Hoosier Environmental Council is at the Statehouse with the latest status in the General Assembly of bills dealing with the Indiana environment.

Indystar.com

Today:   "Indiana Political Insight" and "Indiana Gaming Insight" newsletters editor and creator Ed Feigenbaum joins us to talk about the leadership change coming in the 2021 General Assembly session, when House Speaker Brian Bosma hands the gavel over to Rep. Todd Huston.  Bosma is the longest-serving House Speaker in state legislative history, second only to Rep. Pat Bauer of South Bend.  We have another edition of "Green Fleet Radio" from South Shore Clean Cities and NIRPC.  Carley Samayoa with the Porter County Substance Abuse Council is with us to talk about the organization and the success of its podcast "Matters of Substance." And Andrea Proulx Buinicki with Lake Area United Way talks about the importance of humanitiarian aid to migrants in northwest Indiana.  The LAUW is seeking applilcants for federal financial help to the regional immigrant community. More information about the grant program is on the Lake Area United Way website.

Johns Hopkins Medicine

Today:   Andy Downs with the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics in Ft. Wayne joins us to talk about the 2020 General Assembly session which is in its final weeks, and the bills that've been come up so far for review.  Dr. Erik Mikaitis with Franciscan Health Crown Point explains the coronavirus, its symptoms and how the healthcare system is getting ready to deal with it -- in the hopes that they don't have to.  We have another edition of "Building Northwest Indiana" from the Construction Advancement Foundation and another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University. Purdue University Northwest is observing Women's History Month with a series of events, and Kimberly Trajkovski tells us about a program this weekend at the Hammond campus on "believing in restorative justice."

Lawmakers are considering restrictions on how often schools in need of additional funding can propose referendum measures to local taxpayers, and education groups are once again pushing back on the proposal.

Right now, schools can propose referenda twice a year and in school-funded special elections, but lawmakers added a proposal into a bill this week that would limit those to general elections – about once every two years.

Advocates Push For Youth Tobacco Laws At Statehouse

Feb 18, 2020

The federal smoking age has increased to 21, but some say that is not enough.

More than 100 advocates gathered in support of stricter tobacco laws at the Statehouse Tuesday.

Legislation to ban handheld cell phone use while driving appears headed to passage after a Senate committee easily approved the measure.

IMDB website

Today:  Gary native, Hollywood actor and film festival host William L. Johnson talks about the 9th annual Black Film Festival, to be held this Friday evening and Saturday evening at the Glen Theatre in Gary.  The focus of the festival is on the achievements of African-American actors and filmmakers.   We have a new edition of "Building Northwest Indiana" from the Construction Advancement Foundation, and another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.  Jesse Kharbanda with the Hoosier Environmental Council is at the Statehouse to keep an eye on environmental bills still before the 2020 General Assembly, and he talks with us about HB 1414 -- a major bill affecting clean energy and public utilities.  It is coming up soon before the Senate Utilities Committee for a hearing.

Bill To Eliminate Township Assessors Dead In Senate

Feb 14, 2020

Assessors in 13 of the state’s largest townships will keep their jobs after a bill to eliminate those positions was effectively killed off.

Chicago Crusader website

Today:  For this "Reporters'  Roundtable" program we ask "Times" reporters Dan Carden and Joseph Pete and "Post-Tribune" reporter Carole Carlson to talk about their latest stories in print and online.  Carole has the latest (as of Thursday morning) on the Gary Roosevelt building situation, as decided by the Distressed Unit Appeals Board.  Dan reviews local politics, including Lake County Recorder Michael B. Brown and candidates who've withdrawn from the May 5th primary election ballot, as well as stories from the Statehouse.  Joe Pete has business news for us, including another hazardous waste investigation in East Chicago, and an interesting story about his brother Tom.  Chuck Garber with Valparaiso University also joins us with details on Saturday's annual "Polar Plunge" benefit for Special Olympics Indiana, happening on campus.

Fetal Remains Disposal Bill Advances Easily To House

Feb 7, 2020

The Senate easily sent legislation to the House that builds on a 2016 anti-abortion law dealing with fetal remains.

Lawmakers proposed more than 100 education bills but the number still alive has dwindled to just about two dozen.

Speed Cameras Bill Won't Advance In 2020 Session

Feb 4, 2020

Legislation to allow speed cameras in Indiana highway work zones is dead.

Its author opted not to bring the bill up for a vote in the Senate on the chamber’s mid-session deadline day.

Northeast Indiana Public Radio

Today:  Hoosier Environmental Council senior policy director Tim Maloney and his colleagues have been closely watching the progress of bills in this General Assembly session that can affect the Indiana environment.  Tim is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the measures that he's been monitoring -- two of which made it through Senate committees.  "Inside Indiana Business" host Gerry Dick and his panel of experts review the week's stories in this "INsiders" segment, and we bring you reporter Michael Puente's "Off Mic" conversation with Gary resident and activist Apostle East on the rise in crime in the Steel City. Lakeshore Public Radio's Sharon Jackson visited south Texas near the Mexico border last year and talked to residents about the controversial issue of immigration.

Hands-Free Driving Law, With $500 Fine, Passes House

Jan 30, 2020

Hoosiers could be fined up to $500 for using their cell phones while driving – unless hands-free – under a bill approved by the House.

Gov. Eric Holcomb signed legislation Wednesday that spends $291 million to pay cash for higher education building projects.

After proposing more than 100 education bills, lawmakers face a key legislative deadline next week. House lawmakers proposed fewer education-focused bills than the Senate, but only about a dozen made it through to the session’s next half. 

WFYI Public Radio

Today:  Updates on the 2020 Indiana General Assembly session -- first, from Andy Downs with the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at Purdue University Ft. Wayne, and later, from Dr. Indra Frank with the Hoosier Environmental Council,  which is closely watching environmentally-related measures moving through the Legislature.  We have a new edition of "Building Northwest Indiana" from the Construction Advancement Foundation and a new conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.

It will be significantly harder to get married under age 18 in Indiana if a bill approved by a House committee Monday becomes law.

Pregnant Worker Protection Bill Passes Committee

Jan 27, 2020

A bill that would require businesses to provide “reasonable accommodations” for pregnant workers passed through committee Monday. After hours of arguments, the bill now moves to the full Senate.  

WTIU public television

Today:  We ask "Post-Tribune" reporter Meredith Colias-Pete about the stories she's worked on --including two from the 2020 General Assembly session.  One of them is about Rep. Ed Soliday's bill that could give utility regulators the ability to give their approval before utilities can close coal-fired power plants.   She also has a northwest Indiana update on a state report on infant mortalities.  Lakeshore Public Radio's Sharon Jackson has her conversation with Gary city spokesman Michael Gonzalez on the next phase of dealing with the issue of closed and abandoned Gary public school buildings.  Gary Mayor Jerome Prince is attending a U.S. Conference of Mayors workshop for new mayors, and we learn more about it from the mayor himself.  And we bring back our conversation with northwest Indiana immigration attorney Alfredo Estrada.

A bill going to the Senate floor would create a program for high schoolers to try out careers while performing community service, called the Indiana Youth Service Program. 

Tom Lounges/Lakeshore Public Radio

Today:   We bring back our conversation with Jesse Kharbanda and Dr. Indra Frank with the Hoosier Environmental Council on the recent merger of "Improving Kids' Environment" with the HEC -- and, later in the program, with Conservation Law Center staff attorney Jeff Hyman on HB1031, the measure in the Legislature dealing with public access to Lake Michigan.  "Green Fleet Radio" from South Shore Clean Cities and NIRPC is once again on-the-air with host Carl Lisek. And we talk with Valparaiso University freshman Steven Mileusnich about his petition drive, both on campus and on Change.org, to "Save VU Jazz!" 

A bill to ban drivers from holding cell phones while driving unanimously passed a House committee Wednesday.

The Indiana House easily approved legislation Tuesday raising the legal age to smoke and vape to 21.

Legislation to allow speed cameras in highway work zones didn’t get a vote in a Senate committee Tuesday. And its future this session is in doubt.

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